5 Stars 2022 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Cornucopia of honeyed quince, pineapple & melon on white standard bearer. Vibrant 20 (95 pts) melds ripeness, fresh acidity & creamy frame from ferment/8 months in seasoned barrels. As stellar & refined as previous. WO Stellenbosch.
The Family Reserve Chenin Blanc was crafted from three different wards and soils (Decomposed Granite, Oakleaf and Duplex) in Stellenbosch, each contributing to the complexity of this wine. These vineyards are all over 40 years old and unirrigated bush vines. The canopy of the bush vines were suckered and tipped to ensure a cool micro climate around the grapes with no direct sun and without botrytis.
The grapes were picked separately between 22 and 24° balling, reductively crushed and the juice was given 12 -18 hours skin contact prior to settling. After only 1 day settling, we racked the cloudy juice (120ntu) to tank where it got inoculated with selected wine yeast strain. The juice was then gravity fed into 400L French oak barrels for fermentation. We only used 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels to protect the delicate Chenin Blanc fruit. The wine spent an extra 8 months in barrel before we blended the components. There was no fining or filtration before bottling.
After four consecutive dry winter seasons (2015-2018) the excellent rainfall in 2019 did manage to offer some relief. The effect of additional water could be seen immediately in the vineyards and we had a particularly good growing season. The crop returned to an almost normal level, and the good growing conditions and vine health set the scene and created expectations for an outstanding harvest. Due to the good growing conditions the vines grew a bit more vigorously which meant our viticulture team really had to pay careful attention to the canopy management practices making sure the fruit stays healthy and ensure good even ripening. We are very happy with the natural balance and healthy acidities we saw in the grapes this year.
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